This much we probably know...
1. Jim Harbaugh will not be the head coach at Stanford next year.
2. Rich Rodriguez will not be the head coach at Michigan next year.
How do we know these things? What has lead us to know these things and accept them as fact?
First of all, we know that Jim Harbaugh is at or near the top of nearly every coaching vacancy's hot list...college or pro, in the country. You don't need a Stanford degree to realize that he's topped out at...well, Stanford. He's taken the Pine Trees about as far as they can be taken, as a program. He'd be crazy not to take his talents to a better program.
As far as Rich Rod is concerned, I've spent about a million keystrokes on this blog making a case for people to be patient with him, that his style of coaching was going to take time to catch on. But patience is just something that seems to be a commodity these days in Ann Arbor.
I typed this on 12/18/07:
Rich Rodriguez is the new head ball coach at the University of Michigan. The month long (soul) search is over. Les Miles can keep his fat contract at L$U. Whatever his name is can stay at Rutgers. And the Michigan Wolverines can try to reinvent themselves.I'll stop there because in the next paragraph, I proclaimed Ryan Mallett was going to start the next year for Michigan. Oops :/
By hiring a coach like Rich Rodriguez, that's exactly what Michigan is doing.
We can hire all the dynamic coaches in the country. They can bring their different styles into the Big House and change all they want. But what remains the same is...this is still the Big Ten, and this is still Michigan.
The idea that Rich Rod is going to waltz into town, land his 5-star blue chip QB, and win 4 straight national titles is just crazy.
Anyway, like I was saying, sales at Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork have been seeing a sharp rise since Dave Brandon stopped supporting his head coach after the Wisconsin game. No question, as soon as Brandon stopped saying "I support Rich" and started saying "I will conduct and evaluation after the season", the media has gone crazy with speculation.
And with good reason. All signs are pointing to a firing as soon as tomorrow and as late as Thursday. Proof? Former Michigan RB recruit Dee Hart said that if Rodriguez were coming back, he'd remain committed. Well, guess who decommitted this week and decided to go to Alabama?
As we all know, all signs are pointing to Jim Harbaugh as the man who will replace Rich Rod. He's the obvious choice. He's a former player, alum, his dad coached with Bo. Jim Harbaugh is everything that Rich Rodriguez isn't in terms of having the Michigan pedigree. He's a Michigan man, no doubt about it.
And that what keeps me so apprehensive about being so confident that it's going to be Harbaugh. It all seems to fit too perfectly. There's only one guy out there who is a more genuine fit than Les Miles...and it's Jim Harbaugh. The main difference for me is, I actually like Jim Harbaugh.
The only thing that makes me feel confident that a possible "deal" might not fall apart like it sort of did with Miles (even though many think a deal was never struck with Miles), is that Dave Brandon does not own a sail boat.
It won't be easy for Brandon to sell Harbaugh to the U. Jim rubbed a lot of people the wrong way with comments made about the apparent lack of academic standards for football players at Michigan [ESPN Story].
Mike Hart, who has never shied away from a controversy, said this shortly after the story broke in August 07...
"That's a guy I have no respect for," Hart said. "You graduate from the University of Michigan, and you're going to talk about your school like that, a great university like we have? To say that we're not true student-athletes? I don't know if maybe he wants to coach here and he's mad because he didn't get a job. … He's not a Michigan man. I wish he'd never played here."I love Mike Hart.
Frankly, my gut is telling me that Harbaugh is probably not going to be the next coach at Michigan. I'm only saying this because I just feel there's too much money to be made in the NFL, the draw of the NFL is too huge (his brother John coaches the Ravens), and plus I just simply feel that it makes so much sense for him to come to Michigan, that it will never happen that easily.
I can be wrong, I typically am about situations like this. We'll find out for sure, maybe as early as tomorrow morning.
I will say before I end this post, that I am not a happy blogger that Rich Rodriguez is (apparently) being shown the door. Readers of this blog know that I am a Rich Rod supporter. I will always support the Michigan coach, whoever he is, as long as he is the coach. If this is truly the end of Rodriguez, expect a few words to be typed about his abbreviated time as the Michigan coach.